Tuesday, 13 March 2012

AH Questions

There was a good comment from Mark on my earlier post concerning the AH data I’ve added to my results database. Here’s Mark’s comment in full.

Hi Graeme.

Great to see you have added the AH results to your data. One thing that I was wondering is why you don't have lines like -0.5 or -0.25 etc. but only + lines ?

You should also be aware that on the lower leagues (league one and lower), the big Asian firms will only have 1 or 2 lines. Therefore, the prices will not be very competitive for some of the AH lines.

How do you decide which lines you will taking for any game?


I regularly exchange emails with Mark, so I could have answered via email but I think it’s important that when people ask good questions and I want to give a good reply, I want as many people to see it as possible. Therefore, it’s better if I respond on the blog.

I think Mark’s comment is split into 3 parts and each part is quite fundamental to what I’m doing with the AH betting, so I’ll deal with each part separately.

The first question is an easy one and quite simply, my philosophy around AH betting is to use it to reduce the variance (e.g. volatility) in the results of some of the systems. I’ll probably have to keep reiterating this but I DO NOT see AH betting as a way to increase profitability of the systems. Therefore, if I started giving away handicaps to opposing teams, then although it may increase profitability overall (I’d be getting better odds on some of my teams), it is likely to increase the volatility of my results. Hence, I will NEVER suggest a bet where my team gives away a handicap.

Now, I know people will read this and think, why doesn’t he just give away handicaps when he’s sure his team will win by X goals etc. but that’s getting involved into a whole murky world that I don’t want to get involved in. For a start, I very rarely find any value in a bet at less than 2.00 and therefore, I don’t really have to worry about how many goals etc. my team are expected to win by. The vast majority of the teams I back are expected to lose and the reason I’m backing them is simply because they are overpriced. I very rarely back a team and expect them to actually win. The ones I do expect to win are the Home bets which are shorter prices but then again, when I expect them to win, their goal expectancy isn’t ever going to be massive.

If I was highlighting teams at odds of 1.5 or less that were value to back, then Yes, I can see some mileage in trying to work out if these teams can give away a handicap and still win and this would push up my ROI and returns but quite simply, in nearly 2 seasons of doing this, I’ve never found value in a team at less than 1.5. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist and of course, many people using their own ratings can find value at these odds but my ratings are built in such a way that these bets aren’t thrown up. Well, if I had no odds filters on my ratings, then yes, these bets would be thrown up but when I was building my ratings, I really struggled to find anything to work long-term in this price range, so they just don’t get thrown up as value bets.

Of course, if I find big value in a big priced away bet, then I can increase the value further by giving away a handicap rather than asking for one but again, you need to understand why I want to use AH betting as a tool. It is a tool to help reduce volatility and therefore, backing 5/1 chances away from home and giving the home team a start isn’t really going to reduce volatility in the long-term!

The second question is also an easy one to answer. I will NOT be quoting odds from AH bookmakers. My AH odds will always be adhoc odds which are made up from the recommended price on the selection to win and the draw price (usually Pinnacle’s draw price). Therefore, people can do a comparison very quickly between my quoted odds and the AH odds. Depending on who you talk to, some say the AH bookies will offer better odds and others say adhoc ods are better. In the long-term, I suspect there isn’t much in it but to really maximise your profits, you want to mix and match.

For games with a big priced selection, then I have found it to be consistently better to create your own DNB (AH0) odds rather than taking the AH0 or DNB odds on offer from AH bookmakers or UK bookmakers. However, for games where there isn’t much between the sides, then I tend to find the DNB (AH0) odds to be better. Quite simply, this will be linked to the fact that there is more bookmaker competition around the AH0 line when the games are closer, so this reduces the overround in this market.

In summary then, next season, similar like I have done this season with DNB odds, I will quote the adhoc AH odds and people can either place the bet like I suggest to match my suggested odds or go directly to an AH bookmaker to place the beat when these odds are better.

As for the 3rd question Mark, quite simply mate, I won’t be advising which line to choose. I’ll leave that to those of you following the bets. I’ll do all the work this summer, report back on the results, give my view on when it may be better to ask for a handicap and when not to but at the end of the day, The Football Analyst isn’t responsible for everyone’s P&L account. I’ll get judged on backing the selections to win, I’ll also show the results for backing on each AH line and people will have their own P&L. Those that don’t like AH betting can just back outright, those that like AH betting can just use that, those that like both can mix and match and basically, everyone can do their own thing.

I should add one final thing before I finish. Clearly, AH betting is interesting and I think it can help reduce variance but it isn’t going to be helpful on the systems which have very little variance at the moment. Hence, anyone following system 7-22 on its own probably doesn’t need to worry too much about AH betting. The Aways on there tend to be very stable anyway, so not sure I’d be tinkering too much with the best football system on the planet at the moment anyway!

Hope this makes sense Mark. If not, just get in touch mate.

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